After reading Tim Farriss’ highly engrossing article “Always Be Closing: Y Combinator and The Art of the Pitch,” it got me thinking about how entrepreneurs spend their days/weeks in a startup environment. If you haven’t read Tim’s article you’re missing out. Be sure to fire up the Pandora and set aside a half hour. It’s a great behind-the-scenes account of a day at Y Combinator. Seriously, it’s worth it. If for anything, an always entertaining Alec Baldwin clip…
To unearth the quote that’s the lynchpin for this post I’m writing here it involved doing a keyword search for an f-bomb I remembered seeing in the article. Because it was that compelling and memorable. Tim writes:
Two days before, at the dinner, Drew Houston, the founder of Dropbox—summer of 2007— had been the guest speaker. Afterward, he told Graham there was something else he had intended to say about successful startups but hadn’t gotten to: “They don’t fuck around, right? The startups that succeed, they don’t go to meet-ups, they don’t run around talking to boards of advisers, they just write code and talk to customers, right?” This is Graham’s oft-repeated mantra, too. Write code and talk to customers.
Sure, there are meetups and events that could prove beneficial to your startup. There are recruiting opportunities (sometimes, but not always), potential first customers (really the only event you should probably never miss), hot investors (if you’re doing the right things they will find you), and others in the startup community who will no doubt tell you again just how awesome your idea can be.
Write code. Talk to customers. Have fun.
There is nothing more important to your startup, especially in the early stages. Fortunately, most people can realize instinctually when they’ve been hitting the startup circuit a little too much and need to get back to work. I’m sure the founder of Dropbox had plenty on his calendar when scaling his business coming out of Y Combinator. The point of it all is really focus on execution first, and then be strategic about the remaining time you have and where to spend it.
One founder I’ve worked with split up the time we spent week-to-week attending functions. That’s a great a strategy. Translation: If you’re cramming down on a sprint with your development team, send the biz dev team instead. A strong startup community has tons of opportunities and resources at an entrepreneur’s fingertips. Choose wisely, time is precious.
— Tim Henningsen (@gimmetim) October 16, 2012